The demonstration project aimed to examine the suitability of electromobility over long distances under day-to-day operations. A main criticism of electric vehicles leading to a purchasing restraint of potential customers is their low range. To address this issue, various technical concepts including innovative recharging technologies were therefore tested in field trials as part of this project.

Assessments were made in terms of energy efficiency and user acceptance. The main target groups were commuters needing to cover medium or long distances as well as service enterprises. With its high share of commuters and a heavily represented service sector, the Rhine-Ruhr Model Region provided excellent conditions for the fleet trial.

The project was based on a three pillar strategy to examine the topic of range under everyday conditions of use:

  • The energy efficiency of the vehicles was analysed and improvement potentials were researched. The recovery of energy during braking (recuperation) represented a key area of focus.
  • Comprehensive testing and examination of vehicles with range-extender drives was conducted in terms of their suitability for everyday implementation among users with above-average daily distances to cover.
  • This was contrasted with tests and examinations of fast-charging vehicles. Accompanying this, the fastcharging infrastructure was expanded and the recharging stations examined in terms of their impact on the local energy supply networks.

The analysis of the various technologies was conducted taking technical and socioeconomic factors into account. 420 users — 70 more than originally planned — from a representative cross-section of the population with varying socioeconomic backgrounds and driving profiles, integrated electric vehicles in their daily routine. A fleet of 24 vehicles was procured for this purpose, equipped with precision measuring technologies for the recording of operating and driving data as well as energy flows. Most vehicles were procured by the end of 2012, enabling the field trials to commence in the first quarter of 2013 after the measuring equipment had been installed. The recorded vehicle operating data will provide important insights on the use of the vehicle. The information will be made available to the German automotive industry to help secure a leading position in this sector.

A total distance of more than 75,000 km was covered within the project. Examinations have shown that the fast-charging vehicles are perceived as an ideal replacement for a second vehicle. 85 % of testers of fastcharging vehicles conducted at least one fast charge. The range-extender vehicles, which are intended as a primary vehicle replacement, are regularly charged by users to maximise the amount of electric performance. Nevertheless, the complete battery capacity is regularly completely discharged so that the ratio of electric range coverage was at less than 50% — for both private and commercial users.

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